Tuesday, July 21, 2015

casual kimono

black geometric print kimono top with pink tank and cuffed jeans
tank, Gap
Romeo & Juliet Couture kimono top, Ross
Indigo Rein jeans, Macy's

    I took two very casual items - cuffed jeans and a tank - and added a fancier item. I usually would have gone with black for the top, but I rather like the contrast with the pink. The kimono turned out to be essential on my second day of math training - the room I switched to was a lot colder than the one I sat in for day 1. So glad I decided against wearing shorts.
   The banding around the neck and sleeves and hi-lo cut make this kimono different from the two others I own. It will be too hot to wear this to work when school starts, but I'm looking forward to wearing it in a few months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

You probably don't know that ...

dress, Old Navy
necklace, gift

      I got the idea for this post after reading Patricia Alexandra's version ... I was too late for the linkup wtih Helene In Between, but I thought it was a fun idea.

1. I LOVE junk food. S'mores Pop-Tarts, Combos, Cheetos, Chicken in a Biskit ... yes, yes, and yes. These are foods I snacked on in my childhood and I wish I had lost my taste for them, but I haven't.
2. I am not obsessive compulsive at all, but if I walk by tables and chairs and the chairs are not pushed in, I have to push in the one(s) closest to me. I think this is a teacher problem.
3. I am extremely disorganized. I truly believe I am lacking some essential gene for organizing and decluttering. However, I have made great strides at work in organizing my space. A classroom needs to be organized not just for me as the teacher, but for the twenty-plus students using the same space. A daunting task for someone who's disorganized, but last school year I surprised myself a few times by finding what I needed where it should be. I also figured out that if I labeled a space with exactly what goes inside, I stick to what's on the label. I tried this with the left side of my desk and it worked. Now I just need to do this with my entire house and classroom ....
4. I get cold very easily. When I used to work in a bookstore, if I didn't bring a jacket, I'd be losing the feeling in my fingers halfway through my shift.
5. As a kid my favorite toy was My Little Pony. My sister and I probably owned more than 80 ponies altogether. We had a castle for them to live in, hair ribbons galore, and tons of tiny outfits.
6. I can't go to sleep without a blanket. Even on the hottest nights, I will put just a corner of my sheet over my middle - I don't feel comfortable without it.
7. Speaking of sleeping, I am an extremely deep sleeper, yet also restless - I wake up, turn over, and sit up in bed regularly. I also have restless leg syndrome, which usually isn't so bad, but flares up when I'm extremely tired. 
8. I dislike using the phone. I am the worst at calling people back or making calls. I much prefer to communicate with most people via text, instant message, or e-mail.
9.  I have terrible allergies - grass is the worst offender, but I'm also allergic to dogs, cats, dust mites, and certain chemicals found in cosmetics. My husband jokes that any future offspring will probably have to live in a bubble if they inherit my allergies.
10. When I lived in California, I ate a mostly vegetarian diet. I enjoyed being vegetarian, but I have to admit that now I love my meat, too.

* Photo from before school ended ... I like this dress, but looking at the photos makes me think a belt is a must, unless I want to look like I am wearing a polka-dotted bag.

Monday, July 13, 2015

SIA: The Hundred Dresses

charcoal tank gray tank straight leg jeans cardigan teacher style The Hundred Dresses
tank, Old Navy
necklace, gift
 cardigan, Macy's
Calvin Klein jeans, Ross

         Whoo! I am so excited about participating for the first time in Style Imitating Art. (Click here to learn more about this linkup and see previous posts and art selections). This week's pick by Jen of Librarian for Life and Style was "The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes and illustrator Louis Slobodkin.
        I had two days of math training last week, and wore this on the first day. Dressing for a training can be tricky: there's always the chance that the room will be overly air-conditioned and I'll freeze, and I need to be comfortable for a day of mostly sitting. I considered wearing my green silk dress, but decided to go for a look inspired by the colors of the book. The cardigan's design looks like scribbles, and picks up the primary colors in the artwork. The charcoal tank reminded me of the pencil shading that sets off the bursts of brightness.


multi-colored cardigan charcoal gray tank yellow glass pendant
   
         I'm sure that I read this book as a child, but I don't have any recollection of doing so. I picked it up from the library and enjoyed it - it's a slim novel with a wonderful message. Wanda is different; she wears the same dress every day, has a strange last name, lives in undesirable part of town, and read slowly when asked to read out loud.  Her female classmates, led by Peggy, enjoy "having fun" with her by asking her about the hundred dresses Wanda claims to have at home. A drawing contest and Wanda's departure shows her fellow students a side of her that they never got to see ... and they get to take a good look within themselves, too.
      As a teacher, I appreciated the teacher's short statement to the class after receiving a letter from Wanda's dad that mentions the bullying his daughter endured. The teacher gives the students the benefit of the doubt in terms of what motivated the teasing. Saying that it was motivated by thoughtlessness conveys her belief that her students have good intentions and hearts. At the same time, she exhorts them to think carefully about what they did.
       Estes also does a great job of portraying Maddie's feelings: she moves from rationalizing her actions as OK (based on her shaky status in the girls' pecking order, which is mitigated by her being friends with ultra-popular Peggy) to thinking long and hard about how to make amends to Wanda. It's really a great, sensitive portrayal of a child dealing with a moral issue on her own.


    I still wish that I could have worn a dress for this challenge, but overall I'm pleased with this outfit. It was fun to put together an outfit that captured the spirit of the book's illustrations.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

little pink pineapples

summer style teacher style charcoal Old Navy tank pink pineapple shorts
tank and shorts, Old Navy

    Pineapples seem to be a hot design this summer ... I keep seeing tees and all kinds of things festooned with the fruit. While my husband enjoys fresh pineapple and will buy and cut one from time to time, I rarely ate the fruit (fresh or canned) growing up. A family member spent one summer long ago working in a pineapple factory and thus dislikes pineapple's smell and taste. I remember my dad making baked pineapple Spam once in a great while, and school lunch at times would include pineapple chunks, but that's about as close as we got to the fruit, usually.


    I wore this for Fourth of July and a few days later to run errands. I'm really liking the easy fit of this top! It hasn't been washed enough to see how it holds up over time, but if it doesn't pill, shrink, stretch weirdly or fall apart, I might be tempted to get one or two more. With a cami-style bra underneath for a little more coverage it's outrageously comfortable.
   Have you bought anything with a fun print lately? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

reviewing my Pinterest board: keepers

      I was a dedicated Pinterest user for a while, and then life took over. So it was interesting to take a look through my style/fashion Pinterest board. I was surprised to find that a lot of my pins did not appeal to me anymore. Many of them elicited the thought, "Cute ... but not me." I pulled the keepers, then grouped them, rated them based on how much my outfits actually reflect these aesthetics, and analyzed their appeal and key elements. I also looked through my archives to find any outfits that reflected the three groups. (If I was able to do so, I linked the Pinterest images to their source.)

Boy-ish

1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Rating: Aspirational.
The appeal: To me, fashion with a masculine edge is fun because it's a balancing act. 2 and 3 still make me sigh at the sheer COOLNESS of these looks. These looks really resonate with me, but I can't picture myself wearing them at all. I'd like to try oxfords, but then I think about how wearing a covered shoe with a slimmer-cut pant makes me think my feet look big. I adore the untucked slouch of 3, but I can't help but think that it would be a flop on my 5-foot-tall, short-waisted self.
Elements: slim-cut pants and a blazer or cardigan, a strong necklace to play up the feminine aspect. A masculine-inspired shoe can be a great finishing touch, but isn't necessary.
gray blazer purple top straight leg jeans teacher style trilby
                                                                             1 / 2

Straight-on color

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Rating: Achieved. I have so many examples, I had to pick and choose.
The appeal: color and prints are FUN. And as an introvert, sometimes it's great to let a bold pattern or color combination show that my usually reserved exterior isn't the whole story. I wish that computers came with buttons that would transport an entire outfit from the Internet to my closet ... because I would happily wear 3 to work.
Elements: straight-cut skirts or dresses, a waist-defining belt, casual elements (sneakers, chambray, a bright bead necklace, an oversized tote).

colorful green cobalt blue orange pink yellow teacher style chambray dress cardigan scarf bead necklace
Top row: 1 2 3
Bottom row: 4 5 6

Flutter + Sparkle

Clockwise from left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
 Rating: Aspirational.
The appeal: bring on the floofy skirts, sequins, artsy splatter prints, and chic pattern mixes! These looks all have an elegant, modern vibe.
 Elements: standout details like studs and sequins or an artfully constructed waistband, bold silhouettes, black and white prints, and jewel-tone hues.
Chaudry maxi dress green turquoise print black shirtdress black tunic blazer leggings silk scarf

1 / 2 / 3

Takeaways

   I'd like to:
  • diversify my shoe collection. I have sensitive feet, and the wrong shoe (basically, any non-comfort brand) will leave me hobbling and with cuts/blisters. I have no tolerance for shoes that pinch or make my feet cramp. It's always a challenge to buy a quality shoe that doesn't look too old-ladyish, and thus I only have a few pairs for work. I'd like to work on styling a chic pair of sneakers with something other than jeans, find a "real" pair of shoes for interviews and special occasions, and maybe try out an oxford. I like the patent leather accent on these, and Clarks are usually a reliable brand for me. And look how cute the oxblood version is on this blogger! I ordered these shoes and am now patiently waiting for them to arrive in the mail.
  • keep my hair on the short side. Looking back through my archives, I couldn't believe how heavy and overwhelming longer hair looks on me. A shorter cut is easy to care for and looks more polished. 
  • buy clothing and accessories that I know I'll wear, but also honor the spirit of fun and whimsy. Details can make all the difference, and be uplifting. While I know what silhouettes I prefer and feel the most comfortable in, I'd like to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. 
  • diversify my collection of bottoms. I've fallen out of the habit of wearing skirts to work, mostly because I start every school day sitting on the floor with my students. In hot weather, I tend to reach for dresses instead. I'll have to think about whether I want to retrain myself to wear skirts to work once in a while, or go with the flow and add some different kinds of pants to my collection. Shopping for pants is always a tedious endeavor, but sometimes it MUST be done ...
  • review my Pinterest board for outfit inspiration. Maybe once a month I should choose a pin and create a related outfit. I own lots of clothes, and this would help me be creative with what I already own.
How do you use Pinterest in your style journey?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June budget

jersey fit & flare dress, Old Navy, $9.88
I have to admit, my purchase was influenced by seeing how great this dress looked on both Audrey of Putting Me Together (here) and Fran of Franish (here). When I spotted my size in the clearance section, I decided to take a chance.


2 relaxed slub-knit tanks (charcoal gray and navy), workout tank, 5-inch inseam shorts, $8.89 (used $30 rewards)
Living in a tropical climate, I probably can't justify buying myself a special summer wardrobe. But I don't own easy-fitting, solid-color tanks and I don't own any pink bottoms, much less pink bottoms with itty-bitty pineapples all over them.



Charlotte Russe sequined top, Goodwill, $6.99
I usually try to steer clear of buying fast fashion secondhand ... but when I saw this I said, "Ooh, sparkly!" and had to get it. Another whimsical purchase.
 

necklace, Macy's, $10.68
I was looking for a necklace to pair specifically with my striped tees, but haven't tried this on with them yet. It will likely go back if it doesn't work.

Merona vintage slub V tank, Target, $0 (gift cards)
    There's a Target close to my work, but none close to home, so I rarely shop there. I had some gift cards (given to me by generous, kind students and their families) hanging around in my wallet, lonely and unused. This tank looked like something I could dress up for work with a necklace, or in cooler weather, with a cardigan.

Chaudry dress, Ross, $18.99 (I wore it here)
     I like the ease of a maxi dress. I tend to buy them, but not wear them enough. I'm going to work to change that - this one's too pretty to let it languish in my closet!

Total:$55.43
Budget:$50. 00
Over: $5.43

   Slightly over budget this month, but I'm happy to add some sleeveless cotton tops to my closet - I'm already thinking of dressing them up with a necklace for those first, very hot weeks of school. I think the dress will also be great for work or for weekends.  My sequin top and printed shorts will be strictly weekend wear, but they're lots of fun at a great price.
   What'd you buy in June that you absolutely love?

Friday, June 26, 2015

indulgences


     Recently I treated myself to what I think of as a "real" workout outfit: a pair of pants, a sports bra, and 2 tops that coordinate. Up to this point, gym or exercise wear has consisted of oversized, worn-out tees and plain gray or black bottoms. Summer is when I work out the most, so I decided to treat myself to an upgrade.
    I thought about getting a plainer pair of pants, but decided the print was more of a treat.
     What's your idea of an indulgence?